Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Reeves of Christian County, Kentucky: Part 1

The history of Christian County as published in The County of Christian, Kentucky - Historical & Biographical edited by William H. Perrin in 1884 lists Brewer Reeves as one of the earliest settlers to that county. In fact, the act creating Christian County which was passed in 1796 and took effect on the 1st of March 1797 provided “that the Justices to be named in the commission of the peace for said county” should meet at the house of Brewer Reeves and organize for business. Three weeks after the act became effective, they met, Brewer Reeves, Jacob Barnett, Moses Shelby, Hugh Knox and Jonathan Logan constituting the court and began to transact the business of the new county.

Reeves Advertisement from the Hopkinsville Kentuckian circa 1900Brewer Reeves is believed to have been the son (correction - brother, see update below) of Thomas Reeves, Jr. of Augusta and Rockingham counties of Virginia where Brewer is found in the court, tax, and deed records prior to his arrival in Kentucky in the mid 1790's. Brewer died within a few years of migrating to Kentucky and his estate was entered for probate in Christian County in November of 1799. Mrs. Martha Reeves and their children remained there and Brewer's descendants continued to be actively involved in Christian County affairs where their son Benjamin, after serving in the War of 1812, became a state senator in 1812, 1814 and 1817.

Another Brewer Reeves immigrated from Augusta County, Virginia before 1830. This second Brewer was the son of the elder Brewer Reeves' nephew William. William's older brother John had also migrated to Christian County where he had married Lucretia Dunkerson in 1819.

In 1820, Todd County was formed from Christian and Logan Counties, thereafter the descendants of this Reeves family could be found in both counties.

Benjamin H. Reeves had moved to the Territory of Missouri in 1818 after his terms in the state senate. In 1821 he was elected a Delegate from the Missouri county of Howard to assist in framing a Constitution for that State, and was, a few years thereafter, elected Lieutenant-Governor of Missouri. In 1826 he was appointed by the Government of the United States a Commissioner to survey and mark out a road from Missouri to the Spanish provinces in a direction to Santa Fe. Returning from Missouri in 1836, he settled in the recently created Todd County.Death of Judge Willis L. Reeves

The descendants of this family continued to be politically active. Brewer Reeves' son Willis Long Reeves was for many years clerk of the Todd County Court and a grandson Crittenden Reeves, son of Benjamin, was elected to the Kentucky Legislature. Brewer's grandson Reuben A. Reeves, the son of Ottway Curry Reeves, married and moved to Palestine, Anderson County, Texas where he practiced law and in August 1864 was elected associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court. Another grandson, Willis Long Reeves, Jr. was a judge of the Todd County Court of Appeals at the turn of the 20th century.

In Part 2 of this series I'll present the limited information available on what may be another Reeves family, or possibly two more Reeves families. The family of James Reeves seems to have migrated into Kentucky from South Carolina while there is no definite known origin of William Reeves with wife Susan Hunter.

Update: Rather than being the son of Thomas Reeves, Jr., it appears that Brewer Reeves was his brother based upon several suits in the Augusta County, Virginia Chancery records. In the suit Sevier vs. Thomas Reeves concerning 304 acres in Augusta County purchased in 1769, Brewer Reeves is named as the brother of Thomas Reeves. In another 1770 Augusta County Chancery action, Herndon vs. Thomas Reeves, a statement by Brewer Reeves mentions living in Thomas Reeves' home so it may be possible that Brewer was much younger. Thomas Reeves, Jr. with wife Sarah, formerly of Spotsylvania County, was the son of Thomas Reeves, Sr. who died in Spotsylvania County in 1760. Thomas Reeves, Sr. was the son of Henry Reeves, Jr. of Essex County. George Reeves named his nephew Thomas Reeves, Jr. as well as nephews George, Henry and John Reeves, all sons of Thomas Reeves, Sr. in his 1754 will, but did not mention Brewer.


  1. I think I may be your lost Reeves connection feel free to email me at reeveslvr@gmail.com I would love to chat

    1. Lloyd,

      I apologize for the delay, but Blogger apparently never sent a notice that that you had posted this comment.

      And I'm also sorry to report that this isn't my Reeves' family, nor the family of my co-contributor Carolyn. My Reeves' were in Madison and Warren Counties then later in the Jackson Purchase area of Kentucky.

      A lot of people seem to descend from this lineage and show a lot of interest so you might want to put a post on the Rootsweb Reeves mailing list or on the Reeves Forum at www.genealogy.com. Both sites have a large following and might produce some possible cousins. You might also consider participating in the Reeves DNA Project to positively identify your Reeves' lineage.